New research* from Eurobase Banking Solutions reveals that nearly four out of every ten (38%) senior IT professionals in the banking sector believe that reducing operational costs is the highest ranking IT issue on their board’s agenda today. Over a quarter of respondents (28%) cite return on investment whilst 26% believe that compliance with legislation occupies the top spot.

At the same time, over 86% of those surveyed believe their bank will invest in new IT solutions in the second half of 2005 with the front office benefiting the most.

Nearly a third (32%) of those surveyed cited increased operational efficiency and productivity as the key driver behind their IT purchasing decision. In second place was return on investment, favoured by over a quarter (26%) of respondents.

When asked to identify which area of their bank will receive the bulk of the next IT investment, nearly three quarters (72%) earmarked the front office with one in five (20%) allocating spend toward the middle office and only 8% dedicating resources to the back office.

In terms of selecting the type of trading infrastructure in which they would prefer to invest, nearly two thirds (64%) selected an off-the-shelf solution which can be tailored in-house to meet the institution’s individual needs as opposed to a system developed solely by the in-house IT team (26%) or outsourced to an external service provider (10%).

With improved efficiency and productivity cited as the key driver behind investing in new technology, it is of little surprise that four out of ten (40%) IT professionals chose e-trading as the single most important factor in ensuring that their organisation gains a competitive edge. Nearly a quarter of respondents (24%) believed that STP was the most important development followed by real-time operations (20%).

In summary, in order to improve efficiency and productivity as well as reduce operational costs, banks look certain to invest in new IT solutions particularly within the Front Office and e-Trading areas. The survey has highlighted that the preference is strongly in favour of ‘off the shelf’ solutions that have the flexibility to be tailored to the organisations exact requirements.

David Mallinder, Head of Business Development and Sales at Eurobase, comments, ''The survey clearly shows that the majority of banks and financial institutions are looking to enhance their business processes to generate additional revenue whilst remaining focused on cost reduction. The feedback from recently signed customers of Eurobase within the e-Trading and Front Office sphere is that, by replacing existing systems with more cost effective products that offer far greater functionality, improved STP capability and flexible technology, these objectives can be readily achieved”.

* Research was conducted at the Dealing with Technology (DWT) exhibition in London on May 11th 2005 which was attended by 420 representatives from global financial institutions.

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